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Small Business Administration Celebrates American Dream Week

On August 1, 2017, the White House hosted an American Dream Week event celebrating and discussing small businesses around the nation. The Administrator of the Small Business Administration, Linda McMahon, and Senior Advisor Ivanka Trump discussed the many stories of small business success that people have shared with them over the years, highlighting the diligence and tenacity of those who pursue their business-minded aspirations. McMahon gave an example of business owners who deal with many problems—even natural disasters—that stand between them and the success of their products. Instead of allowing these events to cripple productivity, the small businesses persist, and the result is often a renewed sense of commitment to their mission.

When asked to share lessons learned or advice garnered from her own experiences in the small business world, McMahon replied, “Well, I think every entrepreneur goes into business knowing they’re taking a risk. So you have to manage that downside risk.” She went on to give a brief personal account of her bankruptcy, her car’s repossession, and the auctioning of her house, all while she was seven months pregnant. Referencing this “bad patch,” she pointed out that the most interesting part of talking to entrepreneurs is their drive to get back to success: “It’s not how you fall, it’s how you get back up.”

Trump responded from her own perspective, highlighting the difficulties of starting and sustaining a new business while trying to raise and support a family. “One of the things I will say, there’s no ‘right answer.’ People ask about balance a lot and I’m always sort of dismissive of it because I don’t think you can plan for balance.” Trump pointed out the need to stay “in the moment” and learn to be objective about things when they happen. In retrospect, she said, problems are often not quite as looming as they seem.

Small businesses truly are the backbone and the foundational success of the American economic system. McMahon said that as she talks to business owners around the nation she sees the same needs and a consistency that makes her even more passionate to advocate for these vital groups: “The American dream exists for all of us, and small businesses will continue to drive it home.”

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